GAO’s prior work found that skills gaps in government-wide fields such as cybersecurity are threatening the ability of agencies to carry out their missions. At the same time, government-wide trends in federal workforce retirement threaten to aggravate the problem. To help ensure agencies have the capacity to address complex national challenges, agencies need to be competitive for top talent, including those in the millennial generation.
This testimony examines (1) recent employment trends of millennials in the federal workforce and how they compare to other employee cohorts; (2) trends in engagement levels of millennials versus other employee groups; and (3) the drivers of federal employee engagement and the key lessons learned for building a culture of engagement.
This statement is based on GAO’s 2015 review of the trends and drivers of government-wide employee engagement and our larger body of work on federal human capital, issued primarily between January 2014 and September 2016, and is updated with more recent information. Millennials are commonly considered as those born between the early 1980s and 2000. However, for the purposes of this statement GAO is including all employees 39 years old and younger as millennials in order to provide a consistent definition across datasets.
GAO is not making any new recommendations in this testimony. We have previously made recommendations to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to improve engagement government- wide, which OPM has implemented.